Skip to main content

Full text of "Report of annual meeting of the Ramabai Association, held .."

See other formats


Article I. The members of this Association shall be such 
persons as shall pledge themselves to the payment of not less 
than one dollar per year for a period of ten years. The annual 
payment of one hundred dollars for ten years shall constitute a 
scholarship. Every member shall be entitled to vote at the an- 
nual meeting. 

Art. II. The various Ramabai Circles which have been or 
may be formed throughout the country may become branches of 
this Association. Any member of such branches, pledging the 
payment of not less than one dollar per year for ten years, shall 
be a member of this Association, and shall be entitled to vote at 
the annual meeting. 

Art. III. The officers of this Association shall consist of a 
President, not less than three Vice-Presidents, a Treasurer, a 
Recording Secretary, a Corresponding Secretary, a Board of not 
less than seven trustees, an Executive Committee consisting of 
not less than seven persons, and an Advisory Board of three 
members in India. All said officers shall be elected at the annual 
meeting, and shall hold their offices until others are elected and 
qualified in their stead. Any vacancies occurring in any of the 
offices of this Association may be filled by the Executive Com- 

Art. IV. The Board of Trustees shall manage and control all 
the property and affairs of the Association. 

Art. V. The annual meeting of the Association shall be held 
in March of each year at such time and place in Boston, Mass., as 
the President shall appoint. 

Art. VI. The Board of Trustees shall meet semi-annually at 
such time and place as its Chairman shall appoint. The Execu- 
tive Committee shall meet monthly at such time and place as its 
Chairman shall appoint. This Committee shall attend to all the 
business details of the Association, and report to the Board of 
Trustees as often as such Board shall direct. It shall also make 
an annual report to the Association. Special meetings of the 
Board of Trustees or of the Executive Committee may be called 
by their respective Chairman, when necessary. 

Art. VII. The Advisory Board shall report to the Trustees 
upon such matters as may seem to them important, and upon such 
special matters as may be referred to them by the Association or 
by the Board of Trustees or by the Executive Committee. 

Art. VIII. These By-laws may be amended at the annual 
meeting of the Association or at any meeting called for the pur- 
pose, by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting. 

U-g^Z^Z *t&?^£o 


The Kamabai dissociation. 

%eport of the ^Annual (Meeting 


march 18, 1896. 




The Ramabai Association 

HELD MARCH 18, 1896 



\ t 




Rev. E. W. DONALD, D.D. Rev. EDWARD E. HALE, D.D. 


Board of Trustees. 

Mr. ALPHEUS H. HARDY, Chairman. 






Mr. E. HAYWARD FERRY, Secretary. 

Mr. E. HAYWARD FERRY, 222 Boylston Street, Boston, Mass. 

Executive Committee. 

Mrs. J. W. ANDREWS, Chairman, 36 Rutland Square, Boston. 




Recording Secretary. 
Miss ANNIE G. KELLY, Channing Street, Cambridge. 

Corresponding Secretary. 
Miss A. P. GRANGER, Canandaigua, N.Y. 

Principal of Sharada Sadan. 


The Ramabai Association held its Eighth Annual Meet- 
ing in Trinity Chapel, Boston, on March 18, 1896. In the 
absence of the President, the first Vice-President, Rev. E. W. 
Donald, D.D., presided. The meeting was opened with 
prayer, all present joining in the Lord's Prayer at the close. 

Dr. Donald then said : — 

During the last year I have had occasion to read with 
great interest, and then to reread with increased interest, a 
long communication from Ramabai with regard to the per- 
plexity in which she found herself during last year, touching 
the relation of a non-sectarian and non-religious school to 
that which frequently happens, and which we ought to be 
glad does happen, — the conversion of some of the members 
of the school to Christianity, and their receiving baptism. 
Those of you who have not seen this communication from 
Ramabai have very slight conception of the difficulties, and 
at times the danger, in which the heroic little woman has 
found herself. This communication, to which I refer, was 
written to the Association in the hope that it would return 
to her some specific direction as to her conduct in this mat- 
ter in the future. I am glad to say that the letters which 
Dr. Hale and Dr. Abbott and Dr. Gordon and myself 
wrote in reply thereto, all took substantially the same 
ground ; namely, that she knew more about the matter than 
we did, that she was far wiser than we were, and that she 
evidently possessed a tact, born of her true womanly and 
Christian character, to which none of us would be so bold as 
to lay claim. I mention this to show that the work of Ram- 
abai has not been a monotonous one, and also to show that 
she is at present in need of something more than funds. 

She wants the Christian sympathy of the women of America 
in this very difficult position in which she finds herself. 
For I think that almost any one who has ever had the re- 
sponsibility of directing a work of this, or of a similar, sort 
will be the first to acknowledge that it is not alone financial 
support, however ample, which makes the work easy. It is 
the proved assurance of a deep sympathy, and, more than 
that, of an intelligent comprehension of the problem at 
which one is working. I shall be very sorry if at this meet- 
ing there shall not be some expression given of our deep 
sympathy with Ramabai in this particular phase of her work. 
I am sure that in that far-off land, and contending against 
these singularly uncivilized customs, with the love of Jesus 
Christ deep in her heart, and yet unable freely to express it, 
a word of sympathy from you, the women of Boston, will 
be more gratefully received by her than even the very largest 
financial contribution to her work that she has ever received. 

The records of the last meeting were then read by the 
Recording Secretary, Miss Annie G. Kelly, and were ap- 
proved. Miss Kelly read also the following letter from the 
President of the Association : — 

March i, 1896. 

Dear Madam, — A special preaching engagement will pre- 
vent my being at the Annual Meeting, March 11, of the 
Ramabai Association. Apart from that special engagement, 
church duties at this season of the year would make it diffi- 
cult, if not impossible, for me to be away. I would like, how- 
ever, to be permitted to join with the Association specially 
in the greetings and cheer which, I am sure, will be sent to 
the brave woman who is working so bravely, so cheerily, so 
faithfully, and, alas ! so solitary, for Christ and his little 
ones. It is easy to say God bless her ! Let us have some 
share in giving her the blessing. I enclose an autograph* 
for her benefit. Yours sincerely, 

Lyman Abbott. 

*This autograph was Dr. Abbott's signature to a generous check. 


The report of the Corresponding Secretary was then read 
by Miss A. P. Granger. 


In regard to the seventy-two circles in the United States 
and Canada auxiliary to the Ramabai Association, there is 
little to tell beyond the encouraging facts that interest is 
well sustained, and that the deficiency in their contribu- 
tions, reported by the Treasurer last year, has been made 
up in this. In fact, his receipts this year include the pay- 
ment of two annual pledges from several of the circles. 
This is the case with the Virginia Auxiliary under the care 
of Mrs. Hobson, the annual pledge of $150 due in Febru- 
ary, 1895, having been paid, and $50 also sent toward 
this year's pledge. As many of the friends in Virginia con- 
tribute but twenty-five cents annually, the sum reported 
represents much labor in collecting. Knowing Ramabai, 
and believing that " God originated and will guide the move- 
ment," Mrs. Hobson has kept bravely at her post in spite 
of many cares and her own ill-health, and has had able 
helpers in Mrs. C. R. Harrison, of the Lower James River, 
and Miss L. Wilson, of Portsmouth, Va. Mrs. G. N. Dana, 
of Boston, also reports $133.50 received from friends and 
clusters for the work. 

It had been hoped that Mrs. Andrews, chairman of our 
Executive Committee, by visiting the Eastern circles during 
the past year and telling of her experiences while with 
Ramabai in India, would greatly stimulate and extend an 
intelligent interest in the Sharada. Sadana. But, since ill- 
ness and unexpected home cares have three times deferred 
these visits, those who have the care of the circles must do 
the best they can without her valuable assistance, and, by 
making themselves thoroughly familiar through the reports 
with the past and present condition of the school, fit them- 
selves to inspire confidence in the work for which they so- 

licit help. Possibly the circles may yet have the pleasure 
of hearing Mrs. Andrews. 

The majority of the circles are already in their ninth 
year, having been formed before the Association was organ- 
ized. Let there be no falling off, I beg, in contributions 
in the remaining years. Where it is possible, increase them, 
and do not be misled by the sum reported by the Treasurer 
as received this year. Remember that it includes two pay- 
ments from many of the circles, also that the balance in 
hand at the beginning of the year was made up largely of 
pledges paid to the end. The Sharada Sadana was opened 
in March, 1889 ; and the Association is therefore responsible 
for its support for three more years, though by their pledges 
but two more payments are due from the circles. That is 
our obligation according to our constitution ; but is there 
not a higher obligation ? The Sharada Sadana is the child 
of this American Association. Ramabai had hoped the 
school would be self-supporting by the end of the ten years ; 
but that proves to be quite impossible, owing to the con- 
tinued opposition to women's education in India, and to 
distrust of Ramabai because she is a Christian. Does the 
duty of the parent cease when the youth attains his major- 
ity ? Does he not rather secure to the son the opportunity 
for self-support ? As to the future support of the Sharada 
Sadana, there is thus far no solution but the fruit farm, of 
which mention was made in last year's report. It was after 
careful thought and calculation that Ramabai made her 
appeal for it in November, 1894, and after equally careful 
thought that a few friends contributed sufficient money for 
the purchase and partial development of this farm. Some 
contributions have also been received from the circles. 
About $1,500 is still required, and immediately, that the 
farm may be productive by the time that the Sharada 
Sadana must depend upon it for an income. Though, ac- 
cording to its constitution, the Association cannot hold such 
property as the farm, and all contributions for it must be 

specified as for this purpose only, cannot we of the Associa- 
tion, by completing the amount required, thus secure future 
welfare and usefulness to the Sharada Sadana, the beloved 
child of our Ramabai Association ? 


Correspo7iding Secretary. 
Boston, March 18, 1896. 

The Treasurer, Mr. E. Hayward Ferry, presented the fol- 
lowing report, which was accepted. Mr. Ferry explained 
that the Mango Farm accounts were kept entirely separate 
from the accounts of the Treasurer of the Association, and 
that contributions for that purpose were simply received by 
him and remitted to Ramabai. 


For Year ending Feb. 2Q, i8q6. 


Annual subscriptions (including life member- 
ships), $4,993.00 

Contributions to General Fund, 188.53 

Scholarships, . 1,000.00 $6,181.53 

Interest on current accounts, $18.70 

Income (scholarships), 238.20 256.90 

Total Receipts, $6,438.43 


Salaries and school expenses, . . .... $6,500.00 

Annual meeting, March 11, 1895 (6,000 reports), 267.67 

Cables, 13.53 

Stationery, postage, printing, and sundry ex- 
penses, 145-65 

Rent Safe Deposit Box (one year), 10.00 $6,936.85 


Life memberships (last 2 years), $910.00 

General Fund, 7,805.49 

Scholarships, $10,900.00 

Income, 1,297.75 12,197.75 


Real Estate in Poona (cost $21,002.54), . . . $11,336.48 

Balance (cash) : — 

Provident Institution for Savings, Boston, $3,259.67 
Suffolk Savings Bank, Boston, .... 3,037.28 
Bay State Trust Co., Boston, 3,279.81 9,576.76 


Total cash on hand, March 1, 1895, $10,075.18 

March 1, 1896, 9>576-76 

Decrease, $498.42 


Total Receipts of the Association, March r, 1896: — 

Subscriptions, $78,424.69 

Interest, 3,507.00 $81,931.69 

Total Expenditures, 72,354.93 


E. & O. E. 


Received too late to be reported : — 

Indianapolis Circle, $42.00 

Honolulu Circle, 14.00 

Boston, Mrs. Dana's, 6.00 

Boston, 16.00 

$ 78.00 


I give and bequeath to the Ramabai Association, incor- 
porated under the laws of Massachusetts, the sum of 

Dollars, to be applied, under the direc- 
tion of said Corporation, for the purpose of assisting in the 
education of child-widows in India. The receipt of the 
President or Treasurer shall be a sufficient discharge to my 
executor for the same. 


Receipts, $4,526.19 

Remittances, $4,360.00 

Cash on hand, 166.19 $4,526.19 

E. & O. E. 






Berea, Ky., Y. P. S. C. E., . . 


" Mrs. Dana's, . . . 


" Plymouth Church, 

Bryn Mawr College, .... 

California Association, . . . 

Camden, " King's Daughters' 
Steadfast Circle," .... 

Camden, " Willing Workers," 


" Granger Place School, 

Central City, Neb., .... 

Chelten Hills, 



Cloverdale, Cal., 


Concord, N.H., 


Constantinople, American Col- 
lege for Girls, 

Cooper, Mich., "Q. E. Mis- 
sionary Society," .... 

Delhi, N.Y., Miss Gilchrist's 
S. S. Class, 

Denver, Col., 

Evanston, 111., 

Fairmount, N.Y., S. School, . 

Farmington, Miss Porter's 

Farmington, N.Y., W. C. T. U. 


Fremont, Neb., 

Geneva, N.Y., 

Germantown, First 

" Second, . . . 

Gilbertsville, N.Y., .... 



Eighth Year. 















[ 13.00 

1 1 5.00 



1. 00 



3- 00 














1 29.OO 











3 fl 5 





1 1 




" Girls' Classical School, 
Ithaca, Cornell University, 

Jacksonville, 111., 

Jamestown, N.Y., 

Kansas City, 



London, Ont, 

Los Angeles, 


Warren Memorial 

Presbyterian Society, . . . 


Marengo, 111., W. C. T. U., . 
Mills College, Cal.,* Tolman 



Montesano, Wash., .... 



New Haven, 

New Hope, Pa., 

New York, 

" " Alice Spence- 

Prentice Memorial," . . . 
New York, Miss Merrill's, 

" Missionary Society, 

Church of the Strangers, . 

Niagara Falls, 

Normal, 111., 

Northampton, Smith College, 


Oakland, Cal., 

Ogontz, Pa., Ogontz School, 



Pasadena, Cal., 

Pawtucket, R.I., 

Petaluma, Cal., 


Eighth Year. 

13-5 A 























1. 00 








543- 00 



1. 00 





















Philadelphia, Josee 

" Manorama, . . 

Sahaya, . . . 

Pine Bush, N.Y., ..... 

Plainfield, N.J., 

Plainville, Conn., 

Portland, Ore., 


Quincy, 111., 

Riverside, Cal., W. C. T. U., . 

Roselle, N.J., 

Saco, Me., 

San Francisco, Miss Hamlin's, 

San Jose, Cal., 

" Cal., State Normal 


Santa Barbara, Cal., .... 

Santa Rosa, Cal., 

Sherwood, N.Y., ..... 

Sioux City, 


Springfield, Mass., .... 


St. Louis, 

Tacoma, Wash., 




Virginia Association, . . . 
Warren, 111., Sunday School, 


Wilmington, Del., . . . . 

Eighth Year. 






















































E. & O. E. 


Treasurer Ramabai Association, 


The following letter from Pandita Ramabai was read by 
the Corresponding Secretary : — 


Dear Friends, — It is with great pleasure and deep grati- 
tude that we, the workers and inmates of the Sharada 
Sadan, send our greetings to you. Although seven years 
have passed since we began to work, it seems but a little 
while to us. Our time is so completely filled with various 
duties that the days appear too short to accomplish all that 
we have to do. We thank our loving Heavenly Father for 
His countless mercies and guidance, and we do praise His 
holy name with joyful hearts. We are very, very grateful 
to Him for giving us such good and sympathetic friends as 
you are ; and we .thank you most heartily for all your 
goodness and generous love toward us. 

You will be glad to know that our school is progressing. 
The matriculation standard — i.e., the high-school stand- 
ard — is added to it now ; and all the teachers are working 

The kindergarten is going on pretty well. All but one 
of the trained kindergartners have gone away ; and, owing 
to the illness of the oxen during many months of the past 
year, we have been unable to get the little ones from the 
town. So the number of kindergarten pupils has dwindled 
down to eighteen. But now the work has been revived. The 
oxen are well, and draw the cart nicely. New kindergartners 
are being trained, and I hope that the kindergarten will 
soon regain its former state. The pupils generally are 
trying to profit by the advantages offered them. Seven 
years of faithful working ought to produce some satisfactory 
results ; but the constant withdrawal of pupils by their guar- 
dians, at the least alarm received by them when people or 
the newspapers criticise us, places us at a great disadvan- 
tage. Still, with all the drawbacks and difficulties which we 
have to meet, it is some satisfaction to see four young widows 


happily remarried and settled in their own homes ; four 
girls employed as teachers outside this school, — one of them 
having opened a kindergarten of her own, — and working 
successfully in the field of education ; four others learning 
to nurse in different hospitals ; and three employed here 
as pupil-teachers. Two have volunteered to do the noble 
work of rescuing and helping widows who have fallen in 
difficulty ; two have undertaken to reach ignorant women, 
and teach them as they go from house to house ; and one 
has devoted her time to teaching low-caste women. I do 
hope and pray that these girls may fill their places worthily, 
and serve God faithfully by doing the various duties which 
He has assigned to them. 

The number of pupils is not quite so large now as it was 
last June, when we had sixty-five on the roll. We have 
forty-eight pupils at present. Thirty-nine of these are widows, 
and the rest non-widows. The chief cause of this falling-ofl 
of the number is the conversion of some twelve girls to 
Christianity: I reported to the Executive Committee shortly 
after their baptism under what circumstances they were 
allowed to have the freedom to choose their own religion. 
All the girls who have embraced Christianity are indepen- 
dent. They have never been induced by any one to leave 
their ancestral religion to accept Christianity. Each one 
has followed her own conviction, and has done what she 
thought was right. I used to send out some of them to re- 
ceive religious instruction from some zenana missionaries, 
at their own request. Others had learnt the Bible before 
they came here. When they asked my permission to be 
baptized, I gave it to them, as I was bound to allow them 
to follow their own convictions according to the rules of the 
school. But they were given to understand that I could 
not keep them in the school after their baptism unless our 
American friends consented that they should stay here. 
The question as to what should be done with the girls if 
some felt inclined to change their religion had never come up 

until now, and therefore I had not asked the Executive Com- 
mittee about it. So I felt rather doubtful, and hesitated to 
let these girls do what they liked. The girls relieved my 
anxiety by saying that they were prepared to leave the 
school and all to go away, or to occupy the humble position 
of housemaids to earn their livelihood, if I felt any difficulty 
in keeping them here after their baptism, but that they 
would and must follow the dictates of their conscience at 
all risks. Under these circumstances, I could not prevent 
these girls from openly declaring their faith in Christ.* 

But, when my Hindu brethren and sisters came to know 
about it, they began to say that I had converted the girls, 
and that I was in duty bound to do so, since I received all 
help from Christians and had made promises to convert 
many girls by all means. Christians will know better than 
to believe such nonsense ; but some of the articles written 
against me by my Hindu brethren will show how easy it is 
for people to believe anything, if they be blinded by preju- 
dice. You in America understand and have long enjoyed 
religious liberty. You have allowed my young sisters of the 
Sadana to choose their own religion, to adhere to their Hin- 
duism or to embrace Christianity or to remain indifferent, 
as they like ; and thus you have been practising what you 
preached, and have put us under great obligation, and de- 
serve our gratitude. But the people of this country do not 
know what liberty of conscience means, nor have they ever 
enjoyed it. You and I have tried on several occasions to 
make our object known to the people here. We have often 
told them that we mean to give perfect liberty of conscience 
to the independent students, and to the guardians of the 
minor pupils. We have also tried to explain how we under- 
stand the term " religious freedom," but in most cases we 
have failed to make people understand us. You know that 
none are so blind as those who will not see. Our dear 

* All those who were not employed as pupil-teachers asked me to give them the work 
of servants, and were employed as housemaids. Some of them are still doing the same 


friends and brethren do not choose to understand us, nor 
are they willing to be fair. 

The non- Christian people all over this presidency, with 
a few exceptions, were shocked at the news of the conver- 
sion of these twelve girls to Christianity. They are mourn- 
ing for these girls, for they think that they are lost to society, 
and that the nation has been made weak by this loss of 
strength. These good people never think of the thousands 
of young widows who are yearly led astray, and whose lives 
are wantonly destroyed by men like themselves. They 
never think of mourning for them, and for the hundreds of 
innocent lives that are sacrificed upon the unholy altar of 
Caste. Ah ! my dear friends, I beg of you not to be sur- 
prised at this. We are living in a strange time, and most 
people in this country look upon things in a different light. 
Many things good in themselves are considered as great 
evils, and the real evils are seldom or never noticed by them. 
Men who live in open sin, daily violating the rules of moral- 
ity, and who are plagues of society, are received and hon- 
ored everywhere in their caste ; while a man following his 
conscience, either by marrying a widow or by embracing 
Christianity, is made an outcast, and persecuted. 

A superficial knowledge of the philosophies and religious 
books of India has been misleading many Western people 
to think that the Hindus are the sole possessors of superior 
spirituality. I am not surprised that the good men and 
women of the West, who only see the outside of the grand 
structures of the Oriental philosophy, are charmed with 

This reminds me of the sight I saw at Agra, while I vis- 
ited that city in company with the chairman of our Execu- 
tive Committee, Mrs. Andrews, about two years ago. One 
day we went into the fort, to see the grand palaces of the 
Moghul emperors. There we saw the great Khas Mahal, or 
the emperor's private palace, where he used to keep hun- 
dreds of beautiful women shut up for life. The guide 


showed us the Rani's private rooms, the gardens and grand 
marble buildings once occupied by the kings and queens. 
He also showed us the beautiful pleasure-tower called 
Saman Burj. Visitors are shown all that is beautiful there, 
and they go away carrying very pleasant impressions of 
Agra with them. I was not satisfied with seeing the outside 
beauty of those "poems in marble," but wished to see the 
dungeons, and the place where the unfortunate women used 
to be confined and hanged at the pleasure of the king. The 
guide at first denied the existence of such places in the 
palace ; but, finally, — on obtaining a promise to get a lit- 
tle more money for his trouble, — he consented to show 
the dungeons. He opened a trap-door on one side of the 
palace, let us in, and guided us about, showing us the many 
small and large underground rooms where the queens who 
had incurred the king's displeasure used to be shut up, tort- 
ured, and starved, until it pleased his majesty to set them 
free. The guide then lighted a big torch, and took us to the 
furthest end of the prison, into a room underneath the 
Saman Burj, or Jasmine Tower. The room was very 
dark and octagonal, with a deep, dark pit in the centre, 
and a big beam placed on the walls right over that pit. 
This beam, beautifully carved, served for hanging the un- 
fortunate women who once occupied the throne of the king 
as his queens, but had by some unknown cause fallen under 
his displeasure, and had to suffer such a cruel and ignoble 
death. Their lifeless bodies were let down into that dark 
pit, whence a stream carried them to the waters of the 
Jumna, to be eaten by crocodiles. Thus the poor, miserable 
wives of the Moghul emperors suffered torture and death in 
that dark hell-pit under the pleasure-gallery, while their 
cruel masters and rivals sang songs, enjoyed life, and made 
merry over their grave in the beautifully decorated grand 
Saman Burj. I think but little of those lovely palaces, but 
always remember seeing that dark room, and compare it 
with similar places of torture which exist in many sacred 


towers of India. If the walls of that horrible room had the 
power of speech, oh, what stories of human cruelty and 
misery would they tell to-day! 

I beg of my Western sisters not to be satisfied with look- 
ing on the outside beauty of the grand philosophies, and not 
to be charmed with hearing the long and interesting dis- 
courses of our educated men, but to open the trap-doors of 
the great monuments of ancient Hindu intellect, and enter 
into the dark cellars, where they will see the real workings 
of the philosophies which they admire so much. Let our 
Western friends come to India, and live right among us. 
Let them frequently go to the hundreds of sacred places 
where countless pilgrims throng yearly. Let them go round 
Jagannath Puri, Benares, Gaya, Allahabad, Muttra, Bin- 
draban, Dwarka, Pandharpur, Udipi, Tirpatty, and such 
other sacred cities, the strongholds of Hinduism and seats 
of sacred learning, where the Mahatmas and Sadhus dwell, 
and where the "sublime " philosophies are daily taught and 
devoutly followed. There are thousands of priests, and 
men learned in sacred lore, who are the spiritual rulers and 
guides of our people. They neglect and oppress the widows 
and devour widows' houses. I have gone to many of the 
so-called sacred places, lived among the people, and seen 
enough of those learned philosophers and possessors of 
superior Hindu spirituality who oppress the widows and 
trample the poor, ignorant, low-caste people under their 
heels. They have deprived the widows of their birthright 
to enjoy pure life and lawful happiness. They send out 
hundreds of emissaries to look for young widows, and bring 
them by hundreds and thousands to the sacred cities to rob 
them of their money and their virtue. They entice the poor, 
ignorant women to leave their own homes to live in the 
Kshetras, — i.e. holy places, — and then, after robbing them 
of their belongings, tempt them to yield to their unholy 
desires. They shut the young, helpless widows into their 
large Mathas (monasteries), sell and hire them out to 


wicked men so long as they can get money, and, when the 
poor, miserable slaves are no longer pleasing to their cruel 
masters, they turn them out in the streets to beg their liveli- 
hood, to suffer the horrible consequences of sin, to carry 
the burden of shame, and finally to die the death worse 
than that of a starved street dog ! The so-called sacred 
places — those veritable hells on earth — have become the 
graveyards of countless widows and orphans. Thousands 
upon thousands of young widows and innocent children are 
suffering untold misery and dying helpless every year 
throughout this land, but not a philosopher or Mahatma 
has come out boldly to champion ' their cause and to help 
them. The teachers of false philosophies and lifeless spir- 
itualities will do no good to our people. Nothing has been 
done by them to protect the fatherless and judge the 
widow. If anything has been done by anybody at all, it 
has been done by those people who have come under direct 
influence of Christianity. Education and philosophies are 
powerless before the caste rules, ancient customs, and 
priestcraft. That is why our educated men and our learned 
Sadhus are so indifferent toward their own brothers and 
sisters. The educated men and learned priests do not like 
to move about. They don't want to take the trouble to go 
about to see how dreadfully the widows have to suffer, and 
how many thousands of lives are destroyed by their priestly 
brethren. They mourn over a few women who have the 
boldness to declare themselves as free women, and to fol- 
low their conscience ; but they say nothing of the thousands 
who die every year or lead shameful lives. I earnestly 
beg the women of America and England to come to India 
and live in our sacred cities, — not living in European and 
American fashion, but living like the poor beggar-women, 
going in and out of their dirty huts, hearing the stories of 
their miserable lives, and seeing the fruits of the sublime 
philosophies. Let not my Western sisters be charmed by 
the books and poems they read. There are many hard and 


bitter facts which we have to accept and feel. All is not 
poetry with us. The prose we have to read in our own lives 
is very hard. It cannot be understood by our learned 
brothers and comfortable sisters of the West. 

All my friends in America and England have been very 
loving and sympathetic to me in my work. They have en- 
couraged me and cheered me up by their words and deeds 
of kindness. Our honored friends, Dr. Abbott, Dr. Hale, 
and Dr. Gordon, have helped me and cheered me with their 
kind advice, and comforted me by expressing their sym- 
pathy, for which I am most grateful to them. I cannot 
close this letter without saying how sorry we all feel for the 
loss our former President has sustained in the death of 
his dear son. We deeply sympathize with him, and pray to 
the loving Father, who knows how to help each one of us, 
to strengthen our dear friend to bear the bereavement. The 
Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees, who have 
strengthened my hands and helped me out of every emer- 
gency, have my everlasting gratitude for their kindness to 
me. The pupils of the Sharada Sadana send their grateful 
love and thanks to you all. 

Wishing you all a Happy New Year, and praying that the 
unspeakable joy which is to be had only in worshipping the 
good God in spirit and in truth may be yours now and for- 

I remain yours most gratefully, 


Sharada Sadana, Jan. 31, 1896. 


To the Members of the Ramabai Association : 

The infrequency and meagreness of the reports of the 
Sharada Sadana, given through the Lend a Hand during 
the past year, were largely due to an inexplicable loss of 
letters between the Executive Committee and Ramabai. So 
frequent were the losses as to justify the suspicion that 
there might be " a spy within the camp." Again, in the 
letters that reached the committee were histories of some 
of the pupils and accounts of school trials that could not 
be given to the public. In many home schools for Chris- 
tian girls there are trials of a nature that command the 
silence of the teacher, unless she speaks for advice or aid. 
Such trials in a school like Ramabai's are intensified a hun- 
dred-fold ; but she dared not ask for the sympathy and help- 
ful advice of the Executive Committee, for which her heart 
was longing, until one of its members had seen and appre- 
ciated the nature of those trials. 

As Ramabai has given you an account of the present 
condition of the school, the report of the Executive Com- 
mittee will but supplement hers in a general way. 
, The Corresponding Secretary, in a clear and concise 
manner, has placed before you the serious question now 
confronting Ramabai and the Association in regard to the 
future support of the Sharada Sadana. The Executive 
Committee cannot too strongly indorse what she has re- 
ported, and they hope with her that a partial solution of 
the question may be found in an income derived from the 
mango farm. 



A year has passed since the purchase of this farm was 
made, but through a misunderstanding, evidently caused 
by the loss of letters mentioned, the beginning of the work 
was delayed many months. Now it is progressing as rap- 
idly as possible in the hands of an experienced farmer, 
with Ramabai as general supervisor. Twenty-five hundred 
orange-trees are already in the ground, and the remainder 
of the field is being prepared for the mango trees. A living 
spring has been found upon this field, which will give it a 
constant supply of water. 

Ramabai now feels that her dream of a farm for the sup- 
port of the school is near realization, and she invites all 
her good friends here to a mango treat on the Sharada Sa- 
dana farm in the spring of 1900 ! A growth so rapid may 
seem incredible ; but a young tree transplanted from a nur- 
sery to the compound, two years ago, is now in blossom, 
and in another year the fruit will be allowed to come to 

We regret to say that nearly $1,500 is needed to put the 
farm in a condition to make success complete. And it is 
needed at once, that the trees may be bought and planted 
before the rainy season begins in June. Sums large, and 
sums however small, will be gratefully received and acknowl- 
edged. They should be sent to the Treasurer of the Asso- 
ciation, who keeps the school and farm accounts entirely 

As the Association could not legally hold this property 
the generous friends who provided Ramabai the means to 
purchase wished it to remain in her hands. She, with her 
usual forethought, has secured it for the benefit of the 
school after her death. Again and again she expresses 
deep gratitude for this generous gift. And she has faith 
that the good Father will put it into the hearts of other 
kind friends to complete a gift that is to help her in the 


work to which she is giving her whole heart, sometimes at 
the risk of life, — as in her latest attempt to rescue a num- 
ber of poor widows. 


Early in the fall Ramabai learned that Muttra and Bin- 
draban of North India, sacred to the god Krishna, were 
filled with poor widows, lured there by the priests. The sad 
stories filled her heart with pity and indignation. She re- 
solved to rescue a few at least, to accomplish which she 
must live in the midst of the people. Accordingly she and 
a young friend, dressed in the coarse clothes of a religious 
beggar, started on their pilgrimage. A three days' ride in 
hot, dusty cars, without even the comforts of travelling, 
brought them to Bindraban. Priests met them at the sta- 
tion. Choosing one as a guide to find them shelter for the 
night, they were taken to a small, dirty room, where, with- 
out food and without sleep, they waited for the dawn. As 
soon as light appeared they attempted to bathe ; but the 
sacred waters of the Jumna that cleansed the soul of all sins 
were too filthy for the body. Its banks were covered with 
dunghills, the streets and alleys were filled with the same, 
and vile odors permeated the town. Here Ramabai lived — 
if living it could be called — for two weeks, going in and out 
of the filthy huts, with open eyes and ears ; suspected be- 
cause she did not visit the temples and worship the gods, but 
protected by the mendicant's dress. She found hundreds 
upon hundreds of widows, old and young, who are enticed 
there yearly by the priests, to whom they soon give their lit- 
tle all, if anything they have. Then the older ones are 
taken as concubines or as servants, until they are thrust into 
the streets to give place to fresh victims. The younger 
widows are taught that the life of sin into which they are 
tempted is pleasing to the god Krishna, and will lead to 
a life of happiness hereafter. Those who resist the tempta- 
tion are left to take care of themselves as best they can. 

2 4 

Some starve to death. Many commit suicide. Those who 
yield to the temptation are, in time, turned into the streets, 
to wander about nearly naked, picking crumbs of rice from 
the dirt for food, and dying of horrible diseases, forsaken 
by man, and seemingly forsaken by God. No wonder that 
Ramabai exclaims : " Oh, the sin and misery of it all ! The 
heartless cruelty of man to woman, which I saw on every 
side, is beyond all description. I thought I had seen the 
Sodom and Gomorrah of the old times, and I wondered at 
the long-suffering of God." 

She found seven widows glad to leave such a life and 
place themselves under her protection. But the priests, dis- 
covering their intentions, turned the key upon six of the 
girls ; and no further access to them could be gained. The 
seventh widow had arrived so recently that the priests had 
gained no control over her. Ramabai left the place, thank- 
ing God that she had been permitted to rescue one poor 
child, though almost at the sacrifice of her own life. The 
foul air, the hardships of living, the mental agony caused 
by sights so horrible and tales so pitiful, led to an illness 
that brought her nearly to the grave. 


At the same time the Sharada Sadana was suffering from 
the biennial storm of misrepresentation and abuse which 
hitherto had raged against it without any justification. But 
the recent conversions of which Ramabai has written have, 
from the Hindu standpoint, given her brothers ground for 
strong accusations. And, judging merely by appearances, 
many here might say that Ramabai had at last broken her 
pledge to her people. But they who know that her whole 
life has been a life of truthfulness, unselfishness, and loyalty, 
know also that she has been false neither to her own nor 
the A.merican people. 

The letter from the converted girls, which will be found 


at the end of the reports, speaks eloquently for them, and 
exonerates Ramabai from the charge of proselyting. 

One of the girls is the deserted wife alluded to in the 
last report, whose fate would have been sealed, and her life 
henceforward a life of shame, had assistance reached her 
one day later. Her conversion was reported at once to the 
relative who had begged Ramabai to rescue her. The fol- 
lowing extracts are from his reply : " I see that you alone 
have been used by God to take S. from here and give her 
shelter. You were a stranger to us, and had no connection 
with this part of the land. Your work was long confined to 
Bombay, but God is now pleased to extend it to this part of 
the country [Bengal]. I am really glad to know that S. has 
been saved from the hand of the devil. Though I am not 
a Christian, I take delight in finding any one saved by the 
name of Jesus Christ ; and, if one wishes to be saved by 
that pure name, why should he not follow him ?" 

The next letter is from a repentant husband, who evi- 
dently removed his wife from the school during the excite- 
ment caused by the conversion. He writes : " I shall 
bring my wife to you just after Christmas is over, when I 
shall have leave. I shall be willing to abide by all the con- 
ditions of our existing agreement. Please to admit her, 
disregarding my want of steadiness. You full well know 
the magnitude of the forces that hamper the progress of the 
present generation, and it was not very strange that I 
proved no exception to the general charge laid too de- 
servedly at the door of my countrymen. It was my first ex- 
periment, and my former education and experience in life 
could not carry me very creditably through the struggle. 
But, ever since I left your presence, self-accusation has im- 
bittered the peace of my mind. Now again I have resolved 
to renew our agreement, and may God induce you to keep 
her in your Sadana. Please give me one chance of re- 
trieving what I have done." 

Unfortunately, Ramabai's brothers do not wish to believe 


she has used no proselyting means over her pupils ; and 
they seem not to comprehend the meaning of "unconscious 
influence." Some deny that there can be such an influence, 
but they feel it all the same, as a school incident will illus- 

One of the pupils, a very orthodox Brahmin, who wears on 
her person and worships a little god of stone, was ill in bed 
several days. On recovery, she thoughtfully asked what 
made the girls who attended Ramabai's prayers so different 
from those who did not. The former, she said, were very 
kind ; they came to see her with words of sympathy and the 
desire to do something for her. From the others she re- 
ceived neither sympathy, assistance, nor calls. They were 
simply indifferent to her sufferings. The difference was 
felt, if it could not be understood. 

When the serious questions raised by the conversions 
and baptisms confronted Ramabai, she submitted them to the 
Executive Committee, who were as unprepared for them as 
was Ramabai. They felt, however, that there could be but one 
answer in regard to these brave girls remaining as pupils in 
the school. The letters were referred to the President of 
the Association, Dr. Abbott, and the Vice-Presidents, Dr. 
Hale, Dr. Gordon, and Dr. Donald, who quickly responded 
by sending Ramabai letters of sympathy and encourage- 
ment and wise suggestions, that lightened her heart and 
strengthened her courage. We trust that she will heed the 
caution for renewed vigilance to keep the Sharada Sadana 
wha*t it has been and still is, an un sectarian institution of 
absolute religious freedom, where no attempt shall be made 
to bias the pupils in one direction or another, where, as 
she has said, the Vedas, Koran, and Bible shall stand side 
by side, and where the pupils shall be free to bow down 
before the images of stone and brass, or to worship God,, 
the Father of all. 



Bishop Brooks had the utmost confidence in Ramabai, 
and in her methods of work. At one of the annual meet- 
ings he spoke hopefully and prophetically of the future, and 
closed by saying he felt sure that this work, carried on as it 
was in the spirit of Christ, would lead to blessed results. 

Four years ago Dr. Hale prophesied that, in five or six 
years, eight or ten of Ramabai's pupils would be going out 
to establish schools like the Sadana ; some would become 
teachers, others would marry. In less than that time twenty 
girls are fulfilling in part Dr. Hale's prophecy. Four are 
happy wives of educated men ; four are in hospitals, prepar- 
ing for situation as nurses; ten are, in one way or an- 
other, engaged in educational work; and two are devoting 
their time to rescuing their tempted and fallen sisters. 

Seven years only have passed since the Sharada Sadana 
opened its doors and admitted two pupils, one of whom was 
a child-widow who had several times attempted to end her 
misery by ending her life. To-day she is the intelligent 
companion of a college professor, a happy wife and mother. 

To-day thirty-nine widows are enrolled among the pupils 
of the Sadana, with applications for the admission of widows 
increasing despite the recent conversions. 

To-day the Sharada Sadana is the owner of a beautiful 
compound, a home bungalow, a handsome two-storied stone 
building for study and recitations, and a farm that will be 
soon yielding golden fruit for the support of the school ; and 
all this without one rupee of debt ! To-day, also, twenty of 
its pupils, rescued from lives of ignorance and degradation, 
are tasting the joys of a life hitherto unknown to them, — 
a life of usefulness, happiness, and love. And twelve, by 
the silent influence of one simple Christian life, have been 
led from darkness into light. 

The close of Dr Hale's prophecy may well be the close of 
its fulfilment, as follows : u We have in this bungalow 


without a name that anybody can speak, one little woman 
who is alive with faith, hope, and love. So long as it 
please God to keep her in this world, she will succeed, be- 
cause she is acting on the three eternities, — Faith, Hope, 
and Love, which abide and continue forever." 


It may be remembered by many of you that, during the 
first year of Ramabai's school, the Indian National Confer- 
ence held its fifth meeting at Bombay, attended by six thou- 
sand men ; and that through Ramabai's influence the first 
women delegates were then admitted. She herself spoke so 
eloquently and effectively on the resolutions relating to early 
marriage and the disfigurement of the widow that her re- 
marks were received with "storms of applause, with laughter 
and tears," and the two resolutions were carried by a large 
majority. This created a great interest in the Sadana at the 

Last December the Conference was held in Poona, at- 
tended by thousands of representatives of different races, 
tongues, and religions, to discuss the vital questions of the 
day. The strongest speeches against existing social evils 
are reported to have been made by Dr. Bhandarkar, ex-Vice- 
Chancellor of the Bombay University, and Mr. Justice 
Ranade, of the High Court of Bombay, both of whom were 
members of our late Advisory Board. In view of this fact, 
and because of the grave misstatements made by some of 
the Hindus visiting this country, not only in regard to the 
treatment of child wives and widows, but concerning Rama- 
bai and her school, it cannot seem irrelevant to quote here 
the views of Dr. Bhandarkar on early marriage and widow- 
hood, than whom there cannot be a higher authority : — 

" The misery of our widows has been the subject of fre- 
quent remark. I will therefore not detain you long by a 
full exposition of it. I will only make a general observation 

2 9 

that that society which allows men to marry any number of 
times even up to the age of sixty, while it sternly forbids even 
girls of seven or eight to have another husband after one is 
dead, which gives liberty to a man of fifty or sixty to marry 
a girl of eleven or twelve, which has no word of condemna- 
tion for the man who marries another wife within fifteen 
days after the death of the first, is a society which sets very 
little value upon the life of a female human being, and 
places woman on the same level with cattle, and is thus in 
an unsound condition, disqualifying it for a successful com- 
petition with societies with a more healthy constitution. 
Oftentimes the marriage of a girl under certain circum- 
stances proves her death-warrant. This matter has within 
the last few years forced itself powerfully upon my obser- 
vation. A young man of thirty or thirty-five loses his first 
wife. Straightway he proceeds to marry another, who is a 
girl of ten or twelve. That girl dies by the time she 
reaches the age of twenty. Another takes her place immedi- 
iately after : she, too, dies similarly. Then comes a third, 
who meets with the same fate ; and a fourth is married by 
the persevering man, and is eventually left a widow before 
she is out of her teens. A great many such cases have 
occurred within the last few years and amongst our educated 
men. The medical men whom I have consulted say that 
the results are due to the marriages being ill-assorted ; i.e., 
to the great inequality between the ages of the girl and of 
the strong and vigorous man. I do not know how else to 
characterize these cases except as cases of human sacrifice. 
Surely, if the men who have married girls successively in 
this manner are educated men, their refined sentiments and 
feelings ought to make them spare poor, innocent girls, and 
marry a grown-up woman, a widow, if an unmarried one is 
not to be had." 

If this is Dr. Bhandarkar's "general observation," what 
must be the " full exposition " ! 

During the conference, men from all parts of the country 
called at the Sharada Sadana. Unfortunately, Ramabai 
was away from the city at that time. A friend wrote her 
that many of the speakers highly commended her school, 
and those who referred to the recent conversions were ad- 
vised to open a rival school, if they objected to Ramabai's. 



The eloquent speeches of the reformers, the references to 
Ramabai, and the recent conversions, brought out the press 
of India afresh. It seems, however, with not the same 
degree of venom as before, save in a few instances in which 
the language was so absurd as to defeat its own object. 

One editor challenges the reformers to show the genuine- 
ness of their concern for the widows by starting a home for 
them on the same lines as Ramabai's. Another calls upon 
them to start societies and schools for the education of the 
women of India ; for the recent conversions in the Sadana 
had brought painfully home to him the danger that men- 
aced their Religion and Society by a longer neglect of such 
action. Yet, with a sublime indifference to consistency and 
accuracy, he adds : " But, as to Christianity, it seems to us 
that a true Hindu has no reason to quarrel with her. She 
is a latter-day child of Hinduism ; and, with the few essentials 
she gets from her parent, she has brought about miraculous 
results. However defective and poor her philosophy may 
be, the parent Hinduism has every reason to be proud of her 
youngest child." 

God knows that there is sin, degradation, and misery 
enough in a Christian land ; but the wrongs are neither 
sanctioned by public sentiment nor covered by the cloak of 
religion. And the so-called child has done what may well 
put the so-called parent to shame. She has taken woman 
from "a level with cattle," and has given her an honored 
place in the home, in society, and in the country, — a place 
that woman does not hold save in a Christian land. 


Although Ramabai is " first a saint and then a fiend," 
the respect in which she is held to-day is wonderful. Her 
only fault in the eyes of her people is in being a Christian 
Reformer, who has the courage of her convictions. 


Among her brothers are reformers whom we cannot but 
honor for their heroism in breaking the iron fetters of caste. 
And we trust that the time is not far distant when they will 
honor Ramabai for her greater heroism in becoming a Chris- 
tian as well as Reformer. 

It is evident that the influence of the Sharada Sadana has 
extended far beyond the confines of Poona. It will extend 
more and more as new avenues of usefulness open for its 
pupils. One is already opening through " The Female 
Medical Aid " system, introduced by the Countess of 
Dufferin and approved by the queen, for the purpose of 
preparing native girls, through Western methods, to become 
trained nurses and medical practitioners. 

There is a crying need of native female doctors for the 
women of India, especially the high caste, who are dying by 
hundreds — ay, thousands — because of the insurmountable 
difficulty with which the caste rules surround the female 
patient and male physician. Imagine one of our distin- 
guished doctors trying to examine a tongue and feel the 
pulse with a screen between himself and his patient, and 
make a diagnosis of the case without asking a question ! 

Still another opening for the pupils has suddenly pre- 
sented itself. 

There are in India two hundred thousand deaf-mutes, 
with only two schools established for their benefit, one in 
Bombay, the other in Calcutta. Mr. Banerji, the principal 
of the Calcutta school, is here to study the American 
methods of teaching the deaf and dumb. It has been sug- 
gested by an enthusiastic, devoted friend of these children 
that he should employ female teachers in his school, and 
that some of the bright pupils of the Sharada Sadana might 
be trained for the work. We hope that both he and Rama- 
bai may receive the suggestion as worthy of consideration. 
Mr. Banerji has recently visited her and the school. He 
is with us to-day, and may be able to say if the plan seems 
at all feasible. 


We shall be sorry if aught said in the reports to which 
Mr. Banerji has listened seems to him severe or unjust. 
We ask him to remember that this Association is not con- 
sidering the past glories and present beauties of India, all 
of which it can appreciate and admire. It is dealing with 
hard and cruel facts. It is constantly brought face to face 
with the oppression, the degradation, and unspeakable mis- 
ery of a certain class of his unfortunate sisters to whom 
Ramabai is giving her life. 

We do honor the men who, appreciating the blessings of 
a Christian land, come here, not for their own aggrandize- 
ment or pleasure, but to seek the sympathy and aid of 
Christian people for their suffering brothers and sisters. 
We wish them all success ; and we pray that, when the 
work of this Association ceases, if cease it must, there may 
be a hundred Ramabais, Bhandarkars, Mozoomdars, and 
Banerjis standing where one stands to-day to champion the 
cause of the child-wife and child-widow of India. 


It is with deep regret and sorrow that the Executive Com- 
mittee, in closing their report, record the death of another 
friend and associate, Hon. Alexander H. Rice. Mr. Rice 
was Ramabai's loyal friend, and had the utmost confidence 
in her methods of work. He read her correspondence with 
interest, surprised and charmed with the rare combination 
of sweetness, simplicity, and keen business ability found in 
her letters. Mr. Rice took an active interest in these An- 
nual Meetings. He rarely allowed anything to interfere 
with his duties as chairman of the Board of Trustees. And 
the Executive Committee could rely upon him for sympathy 
and advice in any and every emergency. 

The memory of this courteous officer, wise counsellor, 
and genial friend, will long remain fresh in our hearts. 

Judith W. Andrews, Chairman. 

For the Exectttive Committee. 
Boston, March 18, 1896. 


At the close of Mrs. Andrews's report, Dr. Donald read 
the following resolution, presented by Mr. Alpheus H. 
Hardy of the Board of Trustees. It was unanimously 
adopted, and ordered to be engrossed upon the records of 
the Association : — 


Whereas the Hon. Alexander H. Rice was one of the 
incorporators of the Ramabai Association, and faithfully 
served its interests as chairman of the Board of Trustees 
until his death, — therefore 

Resolved, That in his death this Association loses a 
friend whose active interest contributed much to its sup- 
port, a counsellor whose wisdom and business experience 
increased its efficiency and assured the right conduct of its 
affairs, and an officer who was a strength and inspiration in 
the formation of its work. 

We shall miss his courteous and kindly leadership, his 
warm sympathy and constant devotion, in recognition 
whereof we desire to add this tribute to his memory. 

Voted, That the foregoing preamble and resolution be 
engrossed on the records of the Association. 

Babu J. N. Banerji, the principal of the school at Cal- 
cutta for the education of deaf-mutes, was then introduced- 
He spoke as follows : — 

Ladies and Gentlemen, — It is a great pleasure, indeed, 
to meet you on this pleasant occasion, and to say a few 
words, although in a language which is not my own. I am 
sure every one here has heard the reports of Ramabai and 
of Mrs. Andrews with great interest. I must acknowledge 
that I did not know this dark side of widowhood in India. 

The history of the United States is a history of growth 
and progress, not merely in the wealth, prosperity, and hap- 
piness of the people, but also in the higher and nobler 
sentiments of human nature. Do not suppose that I am 
speaking in the language of compliment when I say that 
the charity of America is not bounded by mountains and 
rivers. Some years ago the American dollar crossed the 
sea, and brought food and life to the starving people of 


Russia. That noble woman, Miss Barton of the Red Cross, 
is at this moment in Armenia, giving food and clothing 
to the persecuted Armenians. Why, your much-maligned 
dollar has already been in India ; and the theistic movement, 
led by Mr. Mozoomdar, has been sustained by American 
funds. And a beautiful institution in Calcutta, called the 
Duff College, in memory of the honored name of Dr. Duff, 
had its funds considerably swelled by American money. 

Again, the beautiful and unique institution, the Sharada 
Sadana, is maintained by American funds. Some two years 
ago I was there, when the new building was being erected. 
It is the only institution of its kind in the Bombay Presi- 
dency. There is another near Calcutta, but not so efficiently 
managed. The Pundita Ramabai is a remarkable woman, — 
a woman intellectually gifted, a woman of great earnestness 
and devotion. I do not know any other woman who could 
so well occupy this position of trust. 

I entirely agree with the tone of the Executive Commit- 
tee's report and the report from the institution. No words 
of mine could heighten their effect. 

It has already been said to you that I am interested in 
the education of the deaf. I do not know any other class 
of people in India whose condition is so pitiable. By the 
census of 1890 it was estimated that there were about two 
hundred thousand deaf-mutes in India ; but, for many rea- 
sons, I am led to believe that the number is much larger. 
You will be interested to hear how many schools there are 
for them. For about sixty thousand deaf-mutes, you have 
about a hundred and twenty-five schools in America. At 
this rate, we should have at least five hundred. Alas, we 
have only two ! They are very small day-schools. Thanks 
to the generosity and godliness of Bishop Meurin, to whom 
India is indebted for the first school for the deaf. This 
school was started about ten years ago in Bombay, with but 
two boys. Twenty-five boys — no girls — are receiving in- 
struction there now. I have the honor of being one of the 
originators of the Calcutta school, which was started in 


May, 1893, with two boys. Twenty-two are now in the 
institution, — two girls and twenty boys. 

None of these schools are government schools. The 
Calcutta school is different from that in Bombay in being 
entirely unsectarian. The management is made up of men 
who are Christians, Mohammedans, Hindus, and men of 
different forms of belief. Even the children profess dif- 
ferent religions, two of them being Christians. But, al- 
though the Bombay school is a sectarian school, they do 
not interfere with the religion of the children. The Bom- 
bay school has a hundred rupees a month from the govern- 
ment, that is about $25,— not a hundred rupees per head, 
but for the whole school. To the Calcutta school the gov- 
ernment gives no aid. Therefore, it remains for the deaf to 
look to private charity for aid. 

It must needs seem strange to you that a country so 
large, with a population of three hundred millions, should 
not be able to maintain two schools like that. In the West 
you are still laboring under the notion that India is rich. 
Perhaps there was a day when India was rich, but at that 
time a small sum made one rich. Even a grocer's wife 
to-day lives more comfortably than a princess of old. There 
was, indeed, a time when India was the home of civiliza- 
tion, the cradle of learning and of arts. Many centuries 
ago, before people knew of this new land which you inhabit, 
before the fame and name of Rome and Greece were heard 
of, our fathers had established kingdoms, and had lan- 
guages and philosophies which still excite the curiosity and 
wonder of the civilized nations of the West. But those 
days are long gone by. Centuries of misgovernment and 
of the domination of a priestly order, to which fortunately 
or unfortunately I have the honor to belong, have brought 
their natural consequences ; and we stand now, as the re- 
ports show, degenerate and degraded. In fact, India is 
now the poorest country in the world, poorer than even 

I shall tell you in a few words of the social position of 


the deaf-mutes in India. Unfortunately, the people of India 
labor under a great misconception about the physical disa- 
bility of the deaf. They have no idea of the relation be- 
tween hearing and intuitive speech ; and there are very 
many who classify the deaf almost with idiots, and they 
cannot conceive that they are capable of instruction. There 
are also many people who believe in a previous state of 
existence ; and they think that the deafness of a deaf-mute 
is the unavoidable result of misdeeds in his past life, and 
must be borne with quiet resignation. I shall tell you one 
story that will illustrate how this belief affects the teaching 
of the deaf. The father of a deaf-mute boy, who was under 
my tuition in Calcutta, asked me if it was not wrong to try 
to teach his son to speak, as he thought his deafness was 
the result of misdeeds in a previous life. After a moment's 
pause, I asked him if he took medical advice when his son 
was ill. On his nodding assent, I said his deafness was 
no more the result of misdeeds than his illness ; and, if he 
took medical advice for one, why not for the other ? It is 
not to be supposed that this father had less affection for 
his child than you have for your own, but it is very difficult 
to rise above the popular prejudice of the country. 

Another difficulty in the way of teaching the deaf is that 
the children themselves often do not believe that they are 
capable of instruction. I remember one child refusing to 
take the trouble when I was going to teach him one day. 
On being questioned, he expressed to me by signs that it 
was not possible that he could receive any instruction at 
all. I was disappointed at this answer; but, fortunately, I 
had a copy of the report of the Northampton institution for 
the deaf, and in that there was a picture of a group of chil- 
dren with a teacher. I showed it to him, telling him that all 
these were deaf-mutes, but could read and write ; and this 
had some influence with him. 

So far, I have been talking about the education of the in- 
discriminately deaf. But, as this Association is particularly 


interested in women, let me say that, if the condition of deaf 
children in India is miserable, the condition of deaf women 
is worse than that of their suffering brothers. Shut up 
within the limited area of a wretched house, not knowing 
anything about the world, and having but rude gestures for 
communication, they naturally become somewhat peevish, and 
are looked down upon by the other members of the family 
and hated by their neighbors. It is not right to say that 
they have any social position whatever, unless you say that 
the domestic animals also have a social position. 

One word more, and I shall have done. At the close of 
the civilized nineteenth century, when you are thinking of 
taking photographs of the inner parts of the body, when you 
preserve the voices of your friends for future use, when you 
talk and laugh and sing to each other from Boston to 
Chicago, these poor people in India have no means of com- 
munication at all. They are distanced by an immeasurable 
gulf from their next-door neighbor. I wish I had the gift of 
eloquence to move this audience. But broken words some- 
times have an effect, more especially from a man in my 
position, who is speaking for those who literally, not figura- 
tively, have no means of communication. If any of you 
should be willing to lend a helping hand to the deaf-mutes, 
I am sure the Board of my school will be more than grateful, 
however small the gifts may be. There is another way, 
already suggested to you, of helping the deaf. When I was 
in India, I felt the necessity of having women teachers; and 
what I see here makes me feel that women teachers will do 
better work than men. Miss Fuller, of the Horace Mann 
School, suggested to me the idea that it would be possible 
for Pundita Ramabai to train a few teachers for the deaf. 
Of course, they will require special education ; but, after their 
education has been completed in the Sharada Sadan, if 
Pundita Ramabai could make an arrangement with the com- 
mittee of my school that I might give them special training, 
it would be a great service to the deaf-mutes of the land. 


The Nominating Committee presented the list of officers 
for the coming year; and they were elected, the Secretary 
casting one ballot. 

Dr. Donald introduced the following resolution, which 
was unanimously adopted : — 

Resolved, That the Corresponding Secretary be requested 
to convey to Ramabai an expression of our deep and tender 
sympathy with her in her peculiarly difficult duty of dealing 
with the delicate questions arising out of the relations to the 
school of those of her pupils who have become Christians. 

In closing the meeting, Dr. Donald said : — 

Before the meeting is adjourned, I want to say that many 
of us, as we listened to these reports, have doubtless had 
come to our memories the remembrance of things somewhat 
similar here in America. India cannot claim a monopoly of 
wrongs and dreadful things in the treatment of women by 
society or by men. But here is the point : this Association 
does not rest, for its security or for its justification, upon 
a mass of unpleasant details. It rests for its security and 
its justification upon this, — that a wrong principle is socially 
intrenched in India. The business of this Association is to 
dislodge that bad principle from its social surroundings in 
India. We have a great many things in America of which 
we are ashamed, but they do not grow out of any principle 
which is championed by any large body of people or which 
is intrenched in any venerable and venerated social custom 
in America. In India it is the reverse. What we are after 
is to break down the principle by the retention of which 
this treatment of widows, which has been described 
here this afternoon, is possible. When that principle is 
broken down, the rest will take care of itself. That is the 
hope, that is the glory, as I understand it, of this Associ- 
ation, — that it is here to make an intelligent and rational 
protest against an unintelligent and irrational social prin- 
ciple in India. We have nature on our side, we have reason 


on our side ; and they who have both nature and reason on 
their side are finally to be the victors, for the stars in their 
courses fight with us, and fight against those who oppose 
us. [Applause.] 

The meeting was then adjourned. 

Sharada Sadan, Poona, July 26, 1895. 

Our Dear Friends, — Our dear Bai has told us what she 
wrote to you in her letter. We are very glad to be able to 
tell you that our hearts have been quite changed and made 
new by the gracious Lord, and we came out and confessed 
our faith in Christ. This we have done out of our own free 
choice. No human being could have wrought this change 
in us, and no one could have induced us to become Chris- 
tians. To God alone we give the glory, and hold no one 
except ourselves responsible for our change of faith. We 
thank the good Lord for bringing us out of darkness into 
his saving light. We thank him again and again for put- 
ting love into your hearts to help us to be free. We thank 
you, dear good friends, for helping, educating, and loving us 
so dearly. You have done great things for us, and we shall 
always remain grateful to you. You have helped us, and 
made us able to help ourselves. For the present we shall 
serve you very gladly and willingly, if you allow us to re- 
main here. We are quite ready to do any kind of work. 
Our pride and all foolish prejudices have left us, and we 
shall be contented to be useful to others in any way. We 
have chosen to serve God, and do not care for the world. 
Our powers are quite limited ; but we are determined to do 
something, even though it may be ever so little, for our 
dear sisters. Please give our grateful thanks and Christian 
love to all our friends who have done so much for us. We 
shall always bless you and pray for you all. 

With warmest love to you, we remain, 

Your grateful children, 


Sarasvatebai. Sukhadabai. 

Manikarnikabai. Rukminibai.